Men's Basketball

Buckeyes Fight, Fall to Gonzaga 90-84 in NCAA Second Round

 

The improbable season for Ohio State has finally come to an end following a 90-84 loss to Gonzaga Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga opened with a 15-0 lead and it was a full-on fistfight between the Bulldogs and the Buckeyes from that point on.

Ohio State, who was led by Keita Bates-Diop in possibly his final game at OSU with 28 points, did not get on the scoreboard until the 14:20 mark of the first half.

The Buckeyes ultimately had no answers for Gonzaga’s Zach Norvell Jr. or Rui Hachimura, who scored 28 and 25 points, respectively.

Despite the 15-0 start, Ohio State did eventually cut the lead to seven points a couple of times in the first half before trailing by 11 points at the intermission.

The second half is where the Buckeyes made their stand.

Ohio State opened the half with a three-pointer from C.J. Jackson. Jackson scored 18 points on the night, but made just 4-of-12 field goal attempts.

Within two-and-a-half minutes, the Buckeyes had it down to two points at 48-46, but they struggled to finally get over the top. The Bulldogs went on a 4-0 run for a six-point lead, which was then cut in half by another three from Jackson. A jumper from Kam Williams — who scored 19 points — made it a one-point game at 52-51.

Then, with 10:35 remaining in the game, Williams hit a three-pointer to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the game, at 56-54. Gonzaga quickly tied it up at 58-58, but the Buckeyes opened up a four-point lead following a layup by Andrew Dakich and a jumper by Bates-Diop. Two free throws and a layup by Norvell tied it back up once again.

Bates-Diop then went on a 5-0 run by himself, giving the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game at 67-62.

And this is when Gonzaga responded with their full might. While Ohio State spent the entire game committing foolish fouls and missing point-blank shots, the Bulldogs began drilling shots from all angles. They finished the game on a 28-17 run over the game’s final six minutes.

In his final game as a Buckeye, senior forward Jae’Sean Tate fouled out, scoring 11 points with seven rebounds and four assists.

Ohio State finished 25-9 in a season that was never expected and far beyond what anybody could have anticipated.

Four months after losing to Gonzaga by nearly 30 points, this team had a five-point lead on the Bulldogs with six minutes to go. The Buckeyes fought in this game, just as they have fought all season long.

[Photo courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com]

 

6 Responses

  1. Being from Indiana (born in OHIO) and living just outside Indy, I give a big shout out to Coach Holtman. He did what he had done with Butler. That is get the most out of what you got. Watched them all year and it was so cool to see these kids having fun. That is what Holtman brings to the Buckeye program.
    I had a sneaking suspicion that the Bucks would outdo the expectations. But, the exceeded that. IMHO. Can’t wait for next year.

  2. Disappointing loss but not for lack of effort. Still a great season and fun to see our players improve and develop as the season went on. I think our critical deficiency was our lack of athletic big men who could guard our opponents quicker big men and also be legitimate scoring threats against the top teams. JaeSean tried mightily to fill this gap but his 6’4″ size was just not a match against the better teams we played. JT’s heart and spirit made him a team leader. KBD was really great all season and it was good to see Cam and CJ come on the last few games. I thank all the departing players and wish them well.

  3. What great season. After last year, I was tempted to take a year off. As former HS coach, I just didn’t like what I was seeing. 5 games into the season these guys brought me back and it was great year. It is so much more fun watching over achievers tough it out than it is watching under achievers lose games they shouldn’t. Even though they lost out in the first round, I’ll never forget how smooth Bates-Diop was, Tate battling guys who had 6 inches on him under the glass, and WIllimas, when he was on being the difference maker. They were a ball handler away from being great team. But what they did with what they had to work with was special.

  4. I was a terrific season. Maybe next year Coach Holtmann can get a backcourt that’s worth a plug nickel.

    If they make 5 wide open gimme layups, they win. They didn’t and got beat.

  5. Very good season. Looking forward to next year and new faces and players. Both Wessons and Potter needs to get better especially Potter. Maybe the new strength and conditioning coach needs some work too.

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